Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Cricket fixing 'must be eradicated'

Mazhar Majeed lost an appeal to have his match-fixing conviction overturned

Corruption in cricket must be eradicated to enable the game to survive as a "truly competitive sport", the country's top judge has stressed.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge sent out his hard-hitting message as he rejected challenges against "spot-fixing" convictions by a cricketer and a sports agent.

Former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield - the first county cricketer in England to be prosecuted for spot-fixing - and Mazhar Majeed, 36, from Croydon, south London, were jailed in separate cases.

They claimed their prosecutions were legally flawed, but Lord Judge, sitting with two other judges at the Court of Appeal in London, ruled that their convictions were safe.

Lord Judge said: "These otherwise unconnected appeals against conviction arise in the same notorious context, 'spot fixing' in cricket matches.

"For cricket betting is not new. It has, however, become multi-faceted.

"Nowadays it is possible to place bets not only on the final outcome of a match, but on particular passages of play, such as how many runs will be scored or wickets taken in an over, or indeed on individual events during the course of an over or passage of play.

"Cricket is widely televised, not only in the country where the match is being played, but throughout the cricket-playing world, and indeed further afield.

"The prizes for successful gambling can be very great, and the scope for corruption is therefore considerable.

"For the health, indeed the survival, of the game as a truly competitive sport, it must be eradicated."

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